Saturday, February 27, 2016

Why You Should Call Their Parents

I could be wrong, but I don't think that any of us LOVE calling parents. Sometimes those calls can be awkward or confrontational, but other times, they can be AMAZING!

Positive phone calls home are equally if not more important than the negative ones. I recently started using reward coupons in addition to lollipops. I assumed that my teenagers would always want the lollipops, but surprisingly, there have been two clear coupon winners: the option to listen to music while they work and positive calls home.

I started to wonder: why did so many of my students want positive phone calls home? I try to acknowledge their positive behaviors all the time in class, but they want more than just my recognition. I think we assume too often that their parents don't care, but maybe that's because we only call to discuss the negatives.

I have started calling home more, and I've had two students tell me their rewards for those calls:

1) One student told me that he was taken out to dinner because of his accomplishments in class.
2) Another student, just yesterday, told me that her mom took her out for ice cream because of the call home.

I plan to start devoting 30 minutes a week calling home to discuss positive behaviors in class. I'm excited to see the good news that my students bring to class.

See some of my reward coupons below! I use these whenever a student demonstrates positive behavior. If you'd like the template, please click here and make a copy. I used KG All of Me and KG Second Chances for my fonts, both of which are available on and TpT.

What do you do to reward your students? Do you call home?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Questions and Answers on the Desk!

I've seen a lot of posts on Instagram of teachers writing on student desks. I love the idea, and let me just say that it was actually FUN to write on their desks with an Expo marker!

I wish that I could leave little individualized notes/compliments to the students, but I have five back-to-back classes, and I don't do assigned seating, so that strategy wouldn't really work well in my classroom.

I decided to instead write review questions on their desks and leave a post-it for them to write down the answer.

There's a few ways to approach this: 

1) Write on every desk to hold each student accountable. This is time-consuming to write all the questions, but every student will have a question to answer. You could then have the students play some musical chairs to find a new seat and answer the next question/determine if the answer that the previous person wrote is correct.

2) Write on one per group or every few desks and put a few post-its on the desk for multiple answers. Allow the students to discuss the question and answer(s), and then have them move to the next group.

3) Give students a few post-its each and have them answer a few questions on the desks. Make it a little competition: Who can get rid of their post-its the fastest by correctly answering five different desk questions?

They are bound to hit/touch/smear the writing. In that case, just have them write it again, come up with new questions, or rewrite them yourself if you're OCD like me. :)

What will you do? Comment below or let me know on Instagram!